Your rights as a patient

Your rights are laid down by law. This determines your right to: Quality of care; Free choice of healthcare provider; Receive information about your health condition; Granting permission to treat; Access to your record; Protection of privacy; Complaint mediation; Pain relief

Quality of care

You have a right to the best possible care and to this end our healthcare providers will apply the necessary medical knowledge and available technology at their disposal.

In doing this, they respect every individual's dignity and right to self-determination regardless of nationality, social class, sexuality or creed. Care with a view to preventing, treating and easing your physical and psychological pain is an integral part of your treatment.

Free choice of healthcare provider

You are free to choose a medical professional and at any time, you have the right to consult one or more healthcare professionals about the same problem.

However, this free choice can be limited by law or circumstances inherent to the organisation (e.g. in case of forced admission, when there is only one specialist present in the hospital). In addition it is also every healthcare professional's right to discontinue your treatment for personal or professional reasons, except in case of emergency. In case the healthcare professional stops the treatment, he has to refer you in order to ensure your continuity of care. You can ask for a copy of your medical record to be sent to your new healthcare provider.

Receive information about your condition

You have the right to receive all information to gain insight in your condition (it concerns the diagnosis, even if it is negative) and the suspected evolution. The healthcare provider will inform you which behaviour will be advisable (e.g. in case of a high-risk pregnancy). He will inform you verbally and in a language that is comprehensible to you.

What if you do not wish to receive information?

When you do not wish to receive information about your condition, you need to let the healthcare provider know in advance, and he will have to respect your wishes (e.g. in case you refuse to know whether or not you're carrier of an infectious disease). The healthcare provider will make a note of this in your patient record.  

If necessary you can appoint a confidant that can receive the information at your request. The healthcare provider will also make a note of this in your patient record, together with the confidant's identity. 

In case not giving the information constitutes a serious disadvantage for your, or third parties', health (e.g. infectious disease), the healthcare provider does not have to comply with "the patient's request not to know". In this case he will need to consult another healthcare provider in advance and, if necessary, call on the appointed confidant.  

More information about appointing a representative or confidant

What if the information can seriously harm your health?

If the medical professional decides that the information could cause serious damage to your health, he can withhold certain information. For this unusual and temporary procedure, he needs to consult a colleague and has to add the motivation for withholding information in the patient record. Sensitive information is however divulged to the confidant, if any.

Granting permission to treat

As a patient, you have the right to learn whether the medical professional is insured and authorised to exercise his/her profession. As a patient you have the right to be informed about the insurance coverage and the licence or registration status of the medical professional.

You have the right to give your, informed, prior and free agreement for every intervention by the medical professional. The information is provided timely and is done in a language that is comprehensible to the patient.

This does not mean that the healthcare provider has to ask explicit permission for every action (blood collection, measuring blood pressure etc.). The healthcare provider can also deduct your permission from your behaviour. If you agree to a treatment, in principle you agree to every part of that treatment. In case of emergency, when it is impossible to ascertain the patient's or his representative's volition, the medical professional will be perform all required interventions.

Access to your medical record

You have the right to a careful and safely stored medical record. You are allowed to request a copy of your medical record. After the patient's death, access to his record is only possible indirectly and only allowed for his next of kin up until the second degree and via a medical professional (only in case the patient did not object to this during his life).

Protection of your privacy

Only healthcare providers involved in your examination or treatment are allowed to be present. Information about your condition cannot be shared with third parties, except in case of legal deviance, and when it is necessary for the protection of public health or for the protection of other people's rights.

In UZ Leuven it is also possible you will be examined, treated and cared for by physicians, nurses and paramedics in training. You have to be informed about this in advance. Information about your condition can only be shared with third parties in exceptional cases laid down by law.

Complaint mediation

If you feel that your patient rights have not been respected, you can contact our hospital ombudsman services. Ombudsman services will listen, give information and mediate to improve communication and restore the breach of trust between yourself and the healthcare providers.

Pain control

You are entitled to pain control. Healthcare providers have to have attention for pain, evaluating pain, treating and easing pain.

3 important points of attention

  1. As a patient you not only have rights but also an obligation to work together with the healthcare providerd as good as possible. Give them all necessary and requested information, meet your appointments, and follow their advice (medication, diet ...). Respecting one another contributes to a good care relationship.
  2. When exercising your rights you can be assisted by a self-appointed confidant.
  3. When you are unable to exercise your rights, your representative can do this in your place. This person will have been appointed by you, or by a justice of the peace as your administrator, or by a cascade of your relatives, up until the second degree.